BMW’s new 5-series next for hybrid power | CAR Magazine

BMW’s new 5-series next for hybrid power

Published: 28 October 2009 Updated: 26 January 2015

The new BMW 5-series being launched this winter is likely to be the next BMW to receive the ActiveHybrid system pioneered on the petrol-electric 7-series and X6 models.

So the new BMW 5-series gets the expensive green tech?

BMW engineers admit they can’t rely on sales of the pricey hybrid 7-series and X6 to justify the development costs, even though these range-topping halo hybrids were jointly developed with Daimler and GM. Senior sources have indicated that the new 2010 5-series will be the next BMW to get an ActiveHybrid model.

The cheaper of Munich’s two new hybrid systems is the 7-series’. It uses a simpler soft hybrid set-up, which means that the car can never run on electric power alone; instead, the electric motor merely provides assistance to the 4.4-litre V8 bi-turbo engine.

The X6 ActiveHybrid uses a full hybrid system with two electric motors, allowing for zero-emissions EV running around town. Yet even the peterol-electric Seven commands a hefty £12,500 premium, weighing in at €105,900 (£95k) in short-wheelbase form.

So is BMW putting all its resources into hybrids?

Nope, BMW admits it is backing numerous horses in the clean fuels race. It acknowledges that hybrids are just one solution – and one aimed particularly at markets that don’t ‘do’ diesel, such as the US. Nearly half of all 7-series ActiveHybrids will be sold in the States. None will come to the UK in this generation, as the emissions are actually higher than for the diesel and the engine bay layout would have to be re-engineered for right-hand drive.

Munich is also working on battery electric vehicles like the Mini E, as well as its hydrogen fuels. In the shorter term, expect more use of direct injection, turbocharged petrol engines with variable valve timing.

>> Come back to CAR Online on Saturday for our first drive of the new BMW 7-series ActiveHybrid

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words